Tag: austerity measurs

After a week of turmoil in Cyprus (see the News item Ochi, ochi, ochi) a deal has been struck between Cyprus, the EU and the IMF over a €10bn bailout for the island’s banking system. But while the deal may bring the immediate crisis to an end, the Cypriot economy could face years of austerity and depression. And there remain questions over whether the deal sends the wrong message to depositors in banks in other eurozone countries whose banking systems are under pressure.

Unlike the original EU proposal, the deal will not impose a levy on deposits under €100,000, much to the relief of small and medium depositors. But individuals and businesses with deposits over €100,000 in the two main troubled banks (Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus) will face losses that could be as high as 40%. The precise size will become clear in the coming days.

The troubled second largest bank, Laiki (Popular) Bank, will be split into a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ bank. The assets and liabilities of the good part will be taken over by the largest bank, the Bank of Cyprus. Thus people’s accounts under €100,000 will be moved from one to the other. The ‘bad’ part will include deposits over €100,000 and bonds. Holders of these could lose a substantial proportion of their value.

Many businesses will be hard hit and may be forced to close. This could have serious adverse multiplier effects on the economy. These effects will be aggravated by the fiscal austerity measures which are also part of the deal. The measures are also likely to discourage further inward investment, again pushing the economy further into recession.

And then there are the broader effects on the eurozone. The direct effect of a decline in the Cypriot economy would be tiny; the Cypriot economy accounts for a mere 0.2% of eurozone GDP. Also the effect on small savers in other eurozone countries is also likely to be limited, as people will probably be reassured that savings under €100,000 have remained protected, even in an economy as troubled as Cyprus.

But some commentators argue that the effect on large depositors in other troubled eurozone countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy, could be much more serious. Would people with large balances in these countries prefer to move their money to, say, Germany, or even out of the eurozone altogether? There is clearly disagreement over this last point as you will see from the articles below.

Webcasts and Podcasts

Cyprus agrees bailout with eurozone ministers The Guardian (25/3/13)
Cyprus bailout: Deal reached in Eurogroup talks BBC News (25/3/13)
‘Disaster avoided’ as Cyprus agrees EU bailout deal Euronews (25/3/13)
Cyprus saved from bankruptcy Channel 4 News on YouTube, Faisal Islam (25/3/13)
What are the implications of the Cyprus deal? BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Stephanie Flanders (25/3/13)
Cyprus bailout deal: Russia riled but Germany relieved BBC News, Steve Rosenberg in Moscow and Stephen Evans in Berlin (25/3/13)
Cyprus bailout deal ‘durable’ says IMF chief BBC News, Christine Lagarde (25/3/13)
Cyprus Bailout Deal Raises Questions: Lombardi Bloomberg, Domenico Lombardi (25/3/13)
Minister Michalis Sarris: Cyprus paying ‘tremendous cost’ BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Michalis Sarris (26/3/13)


Last-minute Cyprus deal to close bank, force losses Reuters, Jan Strupczewski and Annika Breidthardt (25/3/13)
Cyprus strikes last-minute EU bailout deal The Guardian, Ian Traynor (25/3/13)
‘There is no future here in Cyprus’ The Telegraph, Nick Squires (25/3/13)
Back from the brink: EU ministers approve €10bn bailout deal at 11th-hour to save Cyprus Independent, Charlotte McDonald-Gibson and Majid Mohamed (25/3/13)
Cyprus bailout: Deal reached in Eurogroup talks BBC News (25/3/13)
Q&A: Cyprus deal BBC News (25/3/13)
The rescue of Cyprus won’t feel like one to its people BBC News, Robert Peston (25/3/13)
Lessons of Cyprus BBC News, Stephanie Flanders (25/3/13)
Cyprus bailout: Dijsselbloem remarks alarm markets BBC News (25/3/13)
Cyprus saved – but at what cost? The Guardian, Helena Smith (25/3/13)
Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crisis, says eurozone chief The Telegraph, Bruno Waterfield (25/3/13)
Cyprus’s banks have been tamed – are Malta and Luxembourg next? The Guardian, Ian Traynor (25/3/13)
Lehman lessons weigh on Cyprus talks but 1920s slump must not be ignored The Guardian, Larry Elliott (24/3/13)


  1. Explain what is meant by ‘moral hazard’. What moral hazards are implicit in the deal that has been struck with Cyprus?
  2. How does the size of the banking system in Cyprus as a proportion of GDP differ from that in other troubled eurozone countries? How does this affect the ‘contagion’ argument?
  3. Does the experience of Iceland and its troubled banks suggest that the Cypriot problem has nothing to do with its being in the eurozone?
  4. What options are open to the Cypriot government to stimulate the economy and prevent a severe recession? How realistic are these options (if any)?
  5. What are the likely implications of the deal for the economic relationships (as opposed to the political ones) between Cyprus and Russia and between the eurozone and Russia?
  6. Are there any similarities in the relationships between the weak and strong eurozone countries today and those between Germany and other countries in the 1920s and 30s?

Fears of growing debt problems in the EU have caused global stock markets to plummet. On 25th May, the FTSE was down by 2.6%, Germany’s Dax index fell by 2.34% and in France the Cac 40 was also down 2.74%. Shares across Asia fell, including those in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand. On top of this, there are concerns of rising military tensions between North and South Korea. This has only added to the pessimism of investors.

Then came the rescue of the Spanish bank Cajasur by the Bank of Spain, which did little to restore confidence in the world economy. The Spanish deficit has reached 11% of GDP, which is nearly 4 times higher than eurozone rules allow. Spain is also suffering from unemployment of more than 20%, which has led the IMF to call for massive structural reform in the country. The euro has also weakened, as investors sell the currency, because of growing fears of debt default amongst the eurozone countries.

Amid concerns of possible default by Greece, Spain and other countries, the IMF and the members of the European Union have agreed an emergency package of €750 billion (£650 billion). €250 billion comes from the IMF, with €440 billion available as loan guarantees for struggling nations and €60 billion from emergency European Commission funding. We can only wait to see how effective this rescue package will be in restoring confidence in the Eurozone economies.


Global stock markets see sharp falls BBC News (25/5/10)
Spain must make wide ranging reforms, weak recovery – IMF Reuters (24/5/10)
FTSE falls another 2.5% after Europe’s debt crisis sparks fears in Asian markets Mail Online (25/5/10)
IMF raises fresh concerns about the Spanish economy BBC News (24/5/10)
IMF Chief Economists – doubts over Greek aid remain Reuters, John Irish (24/5/10)
Markets still tense over eurozone debt Independent, Ian Chu (21/5/10)
FTSE falls below 5,000 due to eurozone crisis Telegraph (21/5/10)
FTSE plunges nearly 3% in opening seconds (including video) Sky News (25/5/10)
The contagion of austerity BBC News blogs: Gavin Hewitt’s Europe (25/5/10)
Europe debt crisis threatens recovery, OECD warns BBC News (26/5/10)


In graphics: Eurozone in crisis BBC News (24/5/10)
For macroeconomic data for EU countries and other OECD countries, such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Korea, see:
AMECO online European Commission (especially sections 1, 6, 16 and 18)


  1. Using a diagram, illustrate why the euro has weakened.
  2. Explain why stock markets have fallen across the world.
  3. What type of reforms are needed in Spain?
  4. What factors are likely to determine the effectiveness of the IMF emergency package?
  5. Are the austerity measures in the Spanish economy likely to lead to the similar outcomes that we saw in Greece, such as widespread strikes?
  6. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the rescue package. Does rescue involve a moral hazard?